Career, Productivity

Have you found the career trail?

Which Trail Do You Want To Take?

If you’re looking for direction on the next stop in your career, try going to a wilderness area or national forest for some tips (really!) Wandering around in nature will give you good perspective on finding your trail, staying on it, and being tolerant of ambiguity.

Your career “trail” makes much more sense when you look back at it than when you look ahead, as certain decisions just don’t have enough information available to be more than a guess – I think I want to go that way – rather than a guarantee – I know what I’ll get when I go there.

And you’re going to make some incorrect decisions: that is a guarantee. (Probably also some good ones, too.)

Finding Your Career Trail

It’s easy to find your trail – don’t you see the marker that says “TRAIL”? – and less easy to know at this point in time whether that one’s good for you. Choosing a well-trodden path guarantees that you won’t get stinging nettles or poison ivy or a cactus thorn by staying in the middle, and it also virtually guarantees that you won’t find any hidden surprises. It also ensures you’ll get back to where you started, and that you can tell people where you’ve been.

Did You Follow the Map? (Staying on the Trail, and if you should.)

Staying on the trail is a lot easier if people have been on it before and have left markers (they’ll usually remove or flag the obvious hazards. If it’s an unmarked trail, however, there’s lots of opportunity to go somewhere new without being reprimanded (but make sure not to find the rattlesnakes.)

What’s Next?

How comfortable with knowing exactly where you are on the career trail? Understanding the difference between what one person calls a “trail” and another person calls wandering through the wilderness can sometimes be unsettling (and hard to figure out which one you’re following.) If you do a better job preparing yourself for the type of trail you’re on, you’ll be more comfortable even if the going gets rocky. If you’re in Arizona, you should bring plenty of water, adequate provisions, a map, sunglasses, and sunscreen. On your career trail, you’ll need friendly guides, sturdy shoes, and a sense of adventure.

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